Matthew Wolff’s lead over Mayakoba reduced to 2 shots after late bogeys

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Matthew Wolff was about to build a big lead at Mayakoba on Friday until a pair of late bogeys forced him to settle for a 3-under 68 and a two-shot lead over fast-closing Scottie Scheffler in the World Wide Technology Championship.

Wolff had no trouble making birdies the day after he opened with a 10-birdie round of 61. He birdied all par 5s at El Camaleon for the second day in a row, the latter with a handy pitch to 6 feet at number 13 that brought him down to 15.

But he found a bunker on the greenside on the difficult par-4 16th, which played against a light wind and couldn’t get up and down with a 35-yard sand shot. His 3-wood off the tee on the 18th went left into a bunker and he missed a 12-foot par putt on his last hole.

That brought him back to 13-under-129, still in the lead and looking to take control of his game. The 16th and 18th are two of the three most difficult holes on the course.

“It was a hard finish, but I was very happy with how I played today,” said Wolff. “Felt pretty hard this afternoon to be honest. … After a lap like I had yesterday it’s not always easy to get out and keep making birdies and I’m glad I proved myself I can do it. I put myself in a really good place, so I’m looking forward to this week.”

Scheffler, who has performed well in majors and in the Ryder Cup but failed to win on the PGA Tour, was closer to the cut-line than the lead until he made five straight birdies, the last being a 35-foot putt on the par. 3 eighth.

He finished with a par for a 64 and finished within two shots of the lead.

“I feel like I’m doing a good job getting the ball into position and giving myself a lot of stares,” Scheffler said. “I feel like I burned a lot of edges in the first few days. Once those putts start falling a bit more I think I’ll start scoring a bit better.”

Carlos Ortiz of Mexico and defending champion Viktor Hovland of Norway each had 65 and three shots behind. Hovland overcame a bizarre break at No. 1 after making the turn when his approach wildly jumped and went out-of-bounds, triggering a double bogey.

“I pushed it a bit and literally landed four steps to the right of the pin, hit a sprinkler head and went into the trees over the green,” Hovland said. “That’s a bad break, but it’s not like I cut the OB or anything like that. I knew I was playing good golf so I just had to reset.”

He did and made five birdies the rest of the way.

It doesn’t take much to get out of position, and the leading players all talked about the importance of keeping the ball in play.

Brooks Koepka did the same until the worst moment. He gathered to get inside the cut line to pull his drive into the mangroves to the left of the 16th. He took a penalty drop and his next shot stayed just for more trouble. He made a triple bogey, had another 71 and missed the cut. Koepka has not finished in the top 20 since July.

Rickie Fowler got his mistakes out of the way early on. He played the par 5’s on the first nine with a bogey and a double bogey, then failed to birdies the par-5 13th. He was just outside the cut until a birdie on the 17th for a 72 to get on the number.

The cut was 4 under 138.

Ten players tied for fifth place at 9-under 135, a group with Justin Thomas. The surprise in that group may be Bill Haas, who this year is using a one-time career money waiver to keep a full card.

Haas, who won the FedEx Cup in 2011 and played in two Presidents Cup teams, has not won a win in over six years and is number 744 in the world. He opened with a 65 and had another bogey-free round of 67 to stay in the mix.

“I’ve been grinding for three years to figure out what’s going to be consistent and what’s going to help me get over that bump,” Haas said. “Right now I have an idea of ​​a swing that seems to work well. And I want one of them to last longer than two days. I’d like it to continue like this and hopefully have a few nice months.”


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